The fourth webinar recently organised by Italian Leather Research Institute-SSIP on the theme “Purification 4.0: study from COD recalcitrant to traditional purification systems” was very interesting. To introduce the session was the Head of the Polytechnic of Leather Serena Iossa, who introduced Eng. Daniela Caracciolo, head of the new Department of Technologies for the Environment of the Research and Development Area of SSIP, who then held the webinar.

The speaker started by recalling that SSIP has carried out several projects for the treatment of wastewaters and has always been interested in all research activities related to the environmental tanning sector. Thus, the in-depth study on recalcitrant COD and the related collaboration with purification plants was born. With the implementation of alternative concepts, there was a significant variability in the polluting load in the wastewater and a increase of recalcitrant COD.

Daniela Caracciolo

The aim of the research – explained Caracciolo – is to identify which substances present in the water coming from the purification plants are responsible for the recalcitrant COD, trying, thanks to in-depth analyses, to avoid as much as possible the release of these non-biodegradable or hardly biodegradable components.

The speaker then moved on to the analysis of the articles of literature, where it was found that the recalcitrant COD derives from organic substances refractory to oxidation, already under study as they are harmful to the environment and to humans.

These include POPs, persistent organic pollutants and recalcitrant ECDs, chemical substances that interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system. Many associations, such as ZDHC, require the prohibition or control of discharges from tanning or textile industries to verify that there are no substances of this type: the common goal is to achieve zero discharge of hazardous substances. For this reason, thanks to the transfer to the new SSIP headquarters and the expansion of machinery, it is now possible to analyse even minimal concentrations of these substances with highly sophisticated methods. In the end, it were illustrated the new tools and techniques made available by the SSIP and by the University of Naples for this purpose, such as the ICP MS, the HPLC MS-MS, the nano LC-MS/MS orbitrap and the Maldi TOF-TOF 4800 plus system.